Is she old enough for a senior discount?

Published 9:29 am Monday, August 5, 2013

By Julie Seedorf, Something About Nothing

What classifies someone as a senior citizen? According to Wikipedia a senior citizen is someone who is elderly, and that term leads you to a definition that says an elderly person is one who is 65 years of age and older, and retired. The official content is that a senior citizen is one who receives some type of pension benefits. The term was coined in 1938 during a political campaign. It is also tied to Social Security benefits.

I guess that means if it is tied to Social Security benefits, they are going to have to redefine the definition of a senior citizen in the United States to the age of 67 because of the new Social Security laws.

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However, some retail establishments are giving discounts to people younger than 65.

The age at when an establishment gives a discount widely varies. Some start at 55 and some later.

I remember the first time I was asked about a senior citizen discount. It was at a McDonald’s and I was probably 50 years old. I came out of there laughing, but I must say I did look at myself in the mirror and wonder if I did look 65. My son-in-law, the diplomatic person that he is, said that when he worked at McDonald’s he gave everybody who looked over 40 the discount because he didn’t want to get yelled at.

I also remember the first time I took advantage of a senior citizen discount. It was at a Perkins, and I was 55. I ordered off the senior citizens’ menu. This time the waitress didn’t believe me, and I had to show her my driver’s license. I remember having to prove I was 21 but 55?

I have never talked my husband into using the senior citizens’ menu. He always claims he doesn’t get enough food as a senior citizen, but I know it hurts his vanity. He just won’t admit it.

I imagine it would be hard. Clerks and waitresses might go by the gray hair, but my girlfriend had gray hair in her 30s. Then there is the fact that everyone dyes their hair now. Some young people are dying their hair gray. Why? I can’t imagine.

I have to feel for folks who work at the counters and have to figure out if someone is a senior citizen. I have a feeling people would be upset if they didn’t get their discount, but they would also be upset if they did and they were too young.

You know the saying: “Your’re darned if you do, and you’re darned if you don’t.” Or something like that.

Recently, and this is what has triggered this piece of fluff about age, I was in an establishment and they gave me the discount without asking. I kiddingly said, “What! You think I am over 60!” They laughed and told me the age for a discount in their store for senior citizens was 50!

That gave me a laugh. I have one son who is having a hard time with age. Wait till I tell him that in eight years he can claim a senior citizen discount.

There’s a saying: “Payback is heck.” Or something like that.


“I didn’t ask to be a senior citizen. (I was drafted).” ― Doug Jensen, author of “Looking in the Rear View Mirror”


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at